Non-issues resonate in Kerala

 While price rise and development issues took a back seat, controversies over Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan’s statements and innuendos received undue attention. Why, even international issues like Libya and Tunisia got attention in some of the red bastions areas of the state.

One reason for this situation was a sudden elevation in Achuthanandan’s status as a crusading hero which the UDF thought was undue considering his government’s non-performance and infighting during most of its term.

Thereafter, the UDF singled him and his continuing sidelining by the CPM for attack while he retaliated in his inimitable manner. The spat caught an embarrassingly high media attention for most of the campaign period.

The deflection of the campaign’s focus from the real issues to Achuthanandan and his inner-party troubles has led to a general impression that there is no anti-incumbency wave against his government. “Indeed, there is no visible anti-incumbency. What is visible is corruption at the national level and that indulged in by the UDF leaders in the past,” claims Achuthanandan. “That is not correct. Lawlessness, corruption and lack of development thrived under the LDF,”  says Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani.  
US bashing is indeed a pet theme of Communists in any election and this was religiously followed in the interior areas of Kannur, the political killing fields of the state.

For instance, in Chokli in Thalassery from where Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is contesting, Deccan Herald heard a local speaker rueing the bad days that had befallen “our poor brethren in the Gulf because of American imperialist designs’’. He recalled what had happened to Saddam Hussein and points to the civilian unrest in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt “on which America has set its eye upon’’.

The interactive session invariably led to the pro-American stand taken by the Manmohan Singh government and how it needed to be opposed through the ballot.

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